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Olympic Medal Design Causes Uproar In Greece

Aug 22, 2000

Greek newspapers are accusing the Sydney Olympic organizers of historical ignorance. It seems the design of the Olympic Medals to be awarded to the top three in each event features a Roman Colosseum on one side. The intent was to feature an ancient sports arena.

"Avriani" a Greek newspaper, accused the Australian's of confusing a "sports arena" with the "circus" where humans were sacrificed to wild animals.

In their defense Australian Olympic officials indicated that they had been advised by the International Olympic Committee to base their design on the medals used in the 1928 Amsterdam Games.

Depicted on one side of the 1928 medal is a circular outdoor stadium with low walls, nothing like the Colosseum in Rome.

Wojciech Pietranik, designer of the actual medals said he had been instructed by SOCOG officials to incorporate an image of the Colosseum.